Alumna Katie White
Diploma in Plant-Based Culinary Arts
Alumna Katie White graduated from Le Cordon Bleu London with a Diploma in Plant-Based Culinary Arts in 2022. Before this she spent her being life passionate about food, both growing it and creating it.
Growing up in rural Western Australia, Katie was surrounded by nature and beautiful seasonal local food. She obtained her property in her early twenties and became a biodynamic farmer specialising in avocado production, but also created an extensive fruit and vegetable garden.
When the COVID19 pandemic happened, Katie decided to share her lifestyle and passion with the world in the hope to encourage people to live more sustainably and resiliently. She created an Instagram account and web site sharing her garden to plate recipes, and this was so well received that shortly afterwards she knew her future life path would be in this direction.
In 2022, after being enrolled at LCB for two years but unable to travel due to restrictions, Katie was finally able to go to London and complete the diploma. Now in 2023, her debut book The Seasonal Vegan is being released in Australia with a major publisher nationwide. We caught up with her to find out more about her culinary journey.
What made you decide to train in the culinary arts?
"I have been a passionate cook my whole life, even since I was a child, my absolute favourite past time was to make mud pies in my outdoor kitchen with mud and leaves etc! As soon as I moved out of home and could take charge in my kitchen I never stopped experimenting and learning. In my mid twenties it became apparent I wanted to make it official, I wanted to be qualified."
Why did you choose to come to Le Cordon Bleu London?
"Le Cordon Bleu was the only place in the world to not only offer a Plant-based diploma, but also at the calibre I wanted it to be, so it was a something I knew I had to do."
How did your culinary training studying at Le Cordon Bleu London help you to advance your career?
"It gave me a lot of credit, people take me seriously and clients are keen to learn from me because they know I have skills to share which are hard to come by."
Can you tell us a little about the process of writing a cookery book?
"It is a long road, but a very rewarding one none the less! It takes time, a lot of time to invent the recipes, trial them, photograph them (I am also a food photographer), then write them up perfectly for a book. When working with a publisher, there is a lot of back and forth and negotiating to be done. This can be challenging. You have to let go to a certain extent creatively, and surrender on some fronts. Ultimately you have to trust the publisher which is very hard when the book is your creative child, name, brand and work."
Why is seasonal eating so important?
"Seasonal eating is an important way to lower the carbon footprint of our diets, not as much as eating plant based by any means, but it does contribute. Also importantly it provides maximum flavour and freshness in the produce and we all know that that is the most helpful factor when creating excellent dishes. I think it also makes us more present with our food, when you start thinking seasonally, you can't have anything anytime, and this makes you appreciate flavours more, you relish produce more and generally think more about what went into your dinner. This is an important factor when it comes to living a more sustainable, healthy and fulfilling culinary life"
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of converting to a vegan or more plant-based diet?
"Buy my book! The reason why though is not just for sales, it is because it shows you how to make familiar and comforting dishes with plants alone, and I think this is key to making the change enjoyable. If people go straight from what they’ve known to very healthy, clean food that doesn’t have any comfort factor it’s too much of a shock to the system, and is way less sustainable. You really can have your cake and eat it too, and by doing so you’ll stay happy as a vegan or plant-based person. On a more serious note, eating a wide range of plant foods, with a decent amount of whole foods included such as lentils, chickpeas, whole vegetables like broccoli, nuts (including peanut butter), whole grains and quality bread will allow you to get the range of nutrients required to stay healthy living this way."
What’s your one tip for someone looking to write a cookery book?
"Be super passionate about sharing your message behind food, take your time with the writing process and keep it interesting."
What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in a few words?
"Prestige, quality and fun."
How would you describe your current role?
"Creative director of my own brand and also a sister brand of Mildred’s Restaurants which is in development. This is a very varied role, because I do everything from creating the content itself which includes writing, photography and styling, to technical things like making web sites, to marketing and promotion. This variety keeps it interesting and I’m always learning."
How did you get into this role?
"I started with an Instagram account and grew a large following from committed and quality content over time. This basically became a digital and visual resume and led to my other achievements such as working for other brands and businesses."
What does your day-to-day look like?
"It changes quite a lot, but at the moment, whilst I am still here in Australia I wake up and have a chai, walk my dog, sometimes play tennis, check on my chickens, pick fruit at the orchard, do admin or other work which includes promoting my cooking classes and upcoming book, creating content for Instagram or other brands. My best days are when I do all that and have time to make a batch of jam or a big wholesome dinner to share with loved ones too."
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
"Making it profitable! Being an influencer is a fun and fulfilling lifestyle for a creative like me, but it (so far) hasn’t been the most financially rewarding. I do believe this will change over time though, as my brand and business continues to grow."
What is your inspiration?
"For me, it is both my love and care for animals and also passion for amazing, delicious and nourishing food. Also, the seasons and the produce they bring is what inspires my recipes, I want to celebrate fresh produce the best I can without harming animals."
What part of the role are you most passionate about?
"The creative part. When I have a spark of a new recipe idea, or get in the zone with the styling and food photography this is where I am happiest, fully in the creative zone."
Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future?
My book will be launched on April 26th which will include a run of launch events and cooking classes here in Australia. Then I start a creative director role in London for Mildred’s restaurants. I also have many exciting plans on the go which are yet to be revealed.
Inspired by Katie's journey? Find out how you can follow in her footsteps by finding out more about our Diploma in Plant-Based Culinary Arts, or by visiting our programmes page to view the full list of courses available and start your culinary journey today.